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#GuoChuan - Record-setting Chinese offshore skipper Guo Chuan has gone missing on a solo crossing of the Pacific, according to BBC News.

Guo Chuan had connections with Ireland as a crew-member on Irish-Chinese backed Green Dragon and became the first-ever Asian participant, with skipper Ian Walker in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race

US Coast Guard teams now suspended their search in the waters off Hawaii where Guo’s boat was spotted abandoned shortly after his support team lost contact on Tuesday morning Irish time.

Guo’s yacht, the Qingdao China, was reportedly seen from a search plane with its main sail snapped off some 1,000km off Oahu.

Rescuers boarding the boat later found his lifejacket among his belongings.

The experienced sailor had been attempting to break the speed record for a solo Pacific crossing, which currently stands at 21 days.

A year ago, Irish offshore sailor Jarlath Cunnane was among the first to congratulate Guo on a record transit of the North East Passage with a team on board his 26.5m trimaran.

China’s best-known sailor previously sailed around the world in a 12m yacht in 2013.

* The USCG has suspended the search:

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard suspended the active search Wednesday evening for a Chinese mariner who was unreported while sailing his 97-foot super trimaran across the Pacific.

Guo Chuan, 50, remains missing.

"Mr. Chuan was a professional mariner with a deep passion for sailing," said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard 14th District. "Our thanks to our Navy partners who helped us search for this vessel in a timely manner so far from shore in an attempt to locate Mr. Chuan. Our deepest condolences go out not only to his family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community."

Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules crews conducted six search patterns in the vicinity of the Quindao China and its charted course following notification of the situation Tuesday and into Wednesday. The USS Makin Island deployed an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter Wednesday once they were in range to attempt contact with Chuan. Their hails over the radio went unanswered and weather conditions prevented safe deployment of a rescue swimmer to the vessel. They followed up by deploying a rigid-hulled inflatable boat and crew to conduct a boarding of the trimaran Wednesday afternoon. The boatcrew confirmed Chuan was not on the vessel although his life jacket remains aboard.

Weather on scene was reportedly 23 mph winds, seas to 5-feet with good visibility and scattered clouds.

On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 4,600 square miles over the two-day period.

Involved in the search were:
- HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) homeported out of San Diego
- Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew attached to the USS Makin Island

The Quindao China remains adrift, the mainsail has been doused and the vessel has been marked. A broadcast notice to mariners alerting vessel crews in the area to the potential hazard to navigation has been issued. Chuan’s racing team is making arrangements to recover the vessel.

Tuesday morning, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received notification from Maritime Rescue Coordination Center China personnel that the vessel Qingdao China, with one person aboard, had not been heard from for 24 hours prompting the response.
The Makin Island is an amphibious assault ship attached to the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit that departed Naval Station San Diego for a scheduled deployment, Oct. 14, to provide maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the Pacific.

Published in Offshore

Guo Chuan and his trimaran Qingdao China arrived back in his hometown of Qingdao last week. After 25 days of sailing on the sea since the departure from Murmansk, local media and fans waited for Qingdao China’s arrival early in the morning on September 27. Guo climbed to the top of the mast, lit fireworks while waving to fans cheering for him from dinghies and on land.

Amid crowds of people and media, Guo and his five elite crew, Jochen Krauth (France), Sergei Nizovtsev (Russia), Boris Herrmann (Germany), Quentin Monegier (France) and Tim Bastian Frank (Germany, media crew) took the stage.

Departing from Murmansk on September 3, Qingdao China crossed the start line at 13.41 UTC and started the attempt to challenge the first non-stop sailing world record across the Arctic Ocean's Northeast Passage. It took her only 13 days to complete the 3240nm voyage and set a new world record before crossing the finish line on the Bering Strait at 16h45 UTC September 15.

When Guo Chuan and his crew arrived at Qingdao, they received the warmest welcome from local people. Red carpet under foot, garlands around their necks, and a traditional Chinese celebration team beating gongs and sounding drums next to the stage, they were hailed by the city of Qingdao as heroes.

Published in Offshore

Irish offshore sailor Jarlath Cunnane, the first Irish skipper to transit the northeast passage with Northabout in 2003-2004, has been among the first to congratulate Guo Chuan on his world record in transiting the treacherous 3240nm passage.

“This is a great and fantastic achievement. But it also shows how much the ice is retreating. Guo Chuan and his team were sailing in a mostly ice free waters in areas where – just eleven years ago - we were up against ice which was 5 metres thick”, Cunnane told

After 13 days of racing on the the North East Passage, Qingdao China, led by Chinese skipper Guo Chuan, finally crossed the finish line on the Bering Strait at 16.48 UTC September 15, 2015. Skipper Guo Chuan and his five crew from Germany, France, and Russia completed the journey. For the very first time in history, a racing trimaran sailed non-stop successfully through the Arctic Ocean Northeast Passage from Murmansk to Bering Straits.

Departing from Murmansk around noon on September 3, Qingdao China crossed the start line at 13.41 UTC and started the attempt to challenge the first non-stop sailing world record across the Arctic Ocean’s North East Passage. The start of the voyage was treacherous as strong winds were expected for the first 3 days.

Because of the weather, Guo Chuan decided to pilot the trimaran to a more southerly route into the Kara Sea. After sailing among growlers and icebergs across the Laptev Sea, the crew experienced the extreme cold and big gusts on the East Siberia Sea. Sunshine welcomed them on the Chukchi Sea and after that, it took them only over a day to reach the finish line between the Cape Dezhnev and the Big Diomede Island on the Bering Strait.

As soon as they crossed the finish line, the crew jumped for joy and pride. For celebration, they prepared a special ceremony. German crew Boris took out a white board and Guo Chuan wrote the historic moment onto it, “Arctic Ocean, Northeast passage, World Record, 15 September, 2015.”

chuan finish

The Chinese skipper was so excited that he could not hold back his emotions. “I’m so on the top of the world. It’s such an unbelievable moment. Even two months ago, I wouldn’t have imagined I could have a moment like this. It is a moment that could only happen in a dream,” he exclaimed.

Looking back the 13 day voyage, Guo said, “I feel very proud of myself and my crew. It is a challenging and tough journey, especially as we were surrounded by ice and gusts under the extreme cold weather. The boat was bumping like roller-coaster sometimes and seemed totally out of control. For several times, when we were in a very difficult situation, I wondered if we could continue. But thanks to our determination and brave and excellent crew, we overcame the difficult times together and finally made it.”

As a Chinese skipper leading five international crew, Guo said it was not only a special experience for him as a leader but also carried the symbolic significance of “peace and sport”. “This is an international team, our crew are from China, France, Germany, and Russia. Obviously we come from different cultures, but we still work together and made a great voyage successful. As the only Chinese champion for ‘Peace and Sport’, I want to spread the peace message to more people. Now in the world, there are still nations at war, but we want to show that people from diverse backgrounds can do things together,” Chuan said.

chuan peace

Guo Chuan received the congratulations from “Peace and Sport” the moment after crossing the finish line. “No matter the difficulty of the journey through the wind and ice, you and your crew faced it all, showing commitment to your objectives, your passion and the core values of sport. It is a true example for the world and I am very proud to count you among Peace and Sport’s Champions for Peace.”, JoelBouzou, chairman of Peace and Sport wrote in the congratulations letter to GuoChuan.

This is another exceptional achievement for Guo Chuan, who is the iconic face of Chinese offshore sailing. Lingling Liu, Managing Director of Guo Chuan Racing, has been receiving congratulations from the world’s sailing community. “This is a project led by a Chinese skipper and managed by Chinese professional, and supported by experts from all over the world. We are so proud that we made it!” Liu said.

Weather expert Christian Dumard said, “It was like the first race around the world or the first person to climb to the top of the Everest.”

Yves Le Blévec, skipper of the Ultime trimaran, Actual said, “I’m watching Guo Chuan’s challenge closely. Making your way through such an extreme zone on this size of trimaran is clearly a huge challenge. Guo Chuan and his crew did a great job. ”

Kito de Pavant, skipper of the 60-footIMOCA Bastide Otio and an expert in multihull racing said, “This is a very interesting course and the challenge is bound to be tricky. But Guo Chuan is sailing perfectly reasonably. His performance is opening up new routes. Other sailors may well want to follow in his footsteps. We can even imagine that one day races will pass through there. It’s something we need to keep an eye on.”

Benoit Cabaret, designer of the Qingdao China trimaran (former IDEC) said: “As the boat’s designer, I was surprised to learn that an Ultime trimaran was going to attempt this tricky passage. New challenges are not that common today, which makes Guo Chuan and his crew’s accomplishment all the more remarkable.”

The Arctic Ocean Northeast passage non-stop sailing world record is the second world record Guo Chuan has achieved. In2013, he set the world record of solo non-stop circumnavigation in a Class 40 monohull. And maybe he has made one more.

At 14h00 UTC 8 September, Qingdao China touched the northernmost water that no other unpowered racing boat had ever reached in the past. She sailed at 78°33’25 North, only 1271 km (686 miles) from the North Pole. It is the first time that a racing boat has sailed so far north.

During the whole voyage, Qingdao China reached maximum instant speed of 37 knots on September 4, and covered 466 miles during one 24 hour stretch during the Arctic Ocean World Record Challenge between the 4th September at 11h04 and the 5th September at 11h04 with an average speed 19.43 knots.

The result of Qingdao China’s voyage will be delivered to WSSRC for validation and the world record announcement will be officially confirmed at a later date.

A weekly video series was produced by award-winning director Stewart Binns to follow along. Here is the series timeline:

August 18: Departure footage from Brittany, France
August 25: Arrival into Kirkenes, Norway
August 31: The Challenge Awaits: Arrival into Murmansk
September 4: Departure from Murmansk, Russia
September 10: Arctic Ocean halfway update
September 17/18: Northeast Passage finish




Published in Offshore

After some slow-going over the weekend and yesterday, Guo Chuan and his crew of five on board Qingdao China have less than a day (24 hours) of sailing remaining -- just 300 miles to the finish in the Bering Strait estimated for late afternoon UTC today. There is a tracker of progress here.

Published in Offshore

After eight days sailing on the treacherous waters of the Arctic Ocean, skipper Guo Chuan has less than 1000nm remaining onboard his 97-foot trimaran Qingdao China in order to set the World Record for a non-stop sail of the Northeast Passage from Europe to the Pacific via the Bering Strait.

Global media coverage has started to pick up on the impressive challenge undertaken by Guo and his international crew of four sailors and one media crew member from France, Germany and Russia.

German news stories have been extensive with some of the country’s largest national papers including Die Welt, Tagesspiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung highlighting the drama of the Arctic Ocean World Record Challenge and the adventure of the team’s German sailor Boris Herrmann. France's L'Equipe newspaper has been following along.

Lingling Liu, Managing Director of Guo Chuan Racing has been receiving dozens of media inquiries from around the world. "Before that, all the French thought Guo was crazy. Guo is really doing something exceptional. Everybody thought it was impossible and suddenly people realize that it is possible and that somebody is doing it.”

Weather expert Christian Dumard of France added: “It was like the first race around the world or the first person to climb at the top of the Everest.”

Departing from Murmansk around noon on September 3, Qingdao China crossed the start line at 13.41 UTC and started the attempt to set the first non-stop sailing world record across the Arctic Ocean’s Northeast Passage.

With strong winds during the first three days, Guo Chuan decided to pilot the trimaran to a more southerly route then originally planned. Qingdao China reached maximum speed of 37 knots on September 4, and covered 466 miles during one 24-hour stretch of the Arctic Ocean World Record Challenge between September 4 at 11h04 and September 5 at 11h04 with an average speed of 19.43 knots.

Guo and his crew have become accustomed to seeing icebergs, especially when they sailed above the 75 degrees north latitude. They remain very careful and vigilant about this danger.

Benoit Cabaret, designer of the boat has been following Guo’s journey closely, “I am very happy to see that they went through the most difficult part of the course without any problem.”

And Guo Chuan is philosophical about the scene he has witnessed: "In view of
sailing, I do not want to see any Arctic ice as it would be dangerous for the fragile hull. However, it is really sad to see such disappearance of icebergs caused by global warming. Though it makes the route navigable, I would like to see more ice deep in my heart."

Qingdao China has now sailed through the Laptev Sea and will soon enter the East Siberian Sea and the Chukchi Sea, she will head south until reaching the finish line at Bering Strait.

Weather expert Dumard added that from the most recent weather forecast analysis, Qingdao China is expected to complete the voyage on September 14.

A world record is waiting!

Published in Offshore
Tagged under
Guo Chuan and his international crew of four sailors and one media crew, have reached the halfway point of their Arctic Ocean World Record Challenge, six days after departing from Murmansk, Russia and headed for the Bering Strait via the Northeast Passage.The team has already set one record.
According to the team’s weather expert Frenchmen Christian Dumard, it is the first time ever that a racing boat has sailed so far north. The 97-foot trimaran "Qingdao China" reached 78°33’25 North on Tuesday afternoon, just 1271 km (790 miles) from the North Pole, and the most northerly point of their journey.
As Afloat reported earlier, The crew plans to sail the entire Northeast Passage non-stop from Murmansk to the Bering Strait between Alaska (U.S.A) and Russia, the quickest route from Europe to the Pacific, expecting to set the first non-stop sailing world record for the Northeast Passage in the process. The voyage is about 3300 nautical miles and expected to be completed within two weeks around September 14. To celebrate reaching the halfway point, the crew enjoyed some Chinese moon cakes and a little Russian Vodka.Along with skipper Guo Chuan, Qingdao China’s crew includes Frenchmen Jochen Krauth (Baie de Quiberon) and Quentin Monegier (La Trinité-sur-Mer), Germans Boris Herrmann (Kiel) and media crew Tim Bastian Frank (Hamburg), and Sergei Nizovtsev from Russia.
Monegier has also been celebrating the birth of a baby son Lucien, on the day of the departure. He has received baby photos to his phone via Inmarsat satellite.
Published in Offshore